The discovery of what is almost certainly part of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean coincided yesterday with Russia’s decision to veto a bid to investigate the disastrous shootdown of another MAS Boeing 777, flight MH17, over Ukraine.
Both developments raise painful memories for the airline and more so for the relatives of those who died in the two crashes.
In latest developments on MH370:
A Malaysian team with experts from Malaysia Airlines and that country’s Department of Civil Aviation departed for Réunion Island yesterday to inspect part of the wing of a B777 found washed up on the beach there. The remains of a battered suitcase were found washed up nearby, which also may possibly have come from MH370.
Reports this morning say some of the Malaysian team have instead flown to Toulouse, France, the site of the nearest office of the French aviation safety bureau, known as BEA. That’s where the debris is being sent, Réunion Island being French territory.
Final confirmation is expected today but the wreckage is virtually certain to be from MH370.
Oceanographic experts said yesterday that if MH370 had crashed in the area of Indian Ocean off Western Australia that has been searched, prevailing currents could well have swept any floating debris to Réunion Island. Floating objects would take roughly 15 to 18 months to make the journey, which is the right time frame. MH370 disappeared 16 months ago. Barnacles on the debris show it has been in the water some time, not recently placed where it was found.
If confirmed to be from MH370, the piece of wing, known as a flaperon, will be the first confirmed sighting, let alone finding, of any part of the plane.
MH370 went missing on 8 March 2014 along with 239 passengers including crew, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Its disappearance is the greatest mystery ever to strike international aviation.
Pilot suicide or hijack are considered the most likely causes of the disaster.
Discovery of part of the plane will at least put paid to some of the wackier theories surrounding the disappearance of MH370. Those theories include:
- Kidnapped: The plane somehow landed somewhere without leaving a radar signature of any kind. The passengers are being held hostage by a band of mysterious terrorists, or extra-terrestrials.
- Forced down in Diego Garcia. Similar to the previous theory, this holds that the plane was forced to land in the US Indian Ocean island base of Diego Garcia, for reasons unknown, and the passengers are being held there.
- Kazakhstan scenario. The plane was hijacked electronically and flown to Kazakhstan, again for unknown reasons, and buried in a vast pit at the Russian-controlled Baikonur Cosmodrome.
- Advanced military weapons: This, taken directly from a website, runs as follows: “Some military entity, either human or non-human, was testing an advanced weapon capable of either instantly obliterating large airborne objects or teleporting them to another place (or dimension).”
- Alien abduction: The plane and passengers were abducted by aliens.
Meanwhile, in latest developments on MH17:
Russia has vetoed a bid by the United Nations Security Council to set up an investigative tribunal to probe the tragic shootdown of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. Russia’s decision to kill the investigation has been angrily denounced by several other nations, including Australia.
MH17 crashed on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard. The plane is thought to have been shot down, most likely with an anti-aircraft missile, by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Russia contends that MH17 was probably shot down by a Ukrainian Sukhoi fighter jet, not a missile.
The Russian veto was the sole dissenting vote on the 15-member UN Security Council. Another 11 nations voted to set up the tribunal to look into the crash of MH17 and only three nations, including China, abstained.
Strange theories continue to swirl around the MH17 crash. Just yesterday, a report circulated of a mysterious internet entity asking for 10,000 Bitcoins (almost AUD 4 million at today’s exchange rates) for evidence collected as part of an investigation by a “private detective agency” into the MH17 shootdown.
The offer claims to include over 20 sets of evidence, including videos of witness questions, a forensic examination of the wreckage, results of autopsies, and much more.
Anyone wishing to delve into that can do so on: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/07/29/the-strange-story-of-the-ten-thousand-bitcoin-mh17-investigation/
Written by Peter Needham